Donald Trump says he hopes George Floyd is “looking down right now” and saying “this is a great thing happening in our country” when announcing that the country’s unemployment rates had declined.
Floyd was killed in police custody on Memorial Day in Minneapolis after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, while he pleaded “I can’t breathe.”
“Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing happening for our country,” Trump said of Floyd. “A great day for him, a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody.”
The nation's unemployment rate declined from 14.7 per cent in April to 13.3 per cent in May in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered businesses and forced layoffs while millions of Americans have filed for unemployment insurance benefits.
However while these figures sound encouraging, the US unemployment rate remains higher than at any point during the financial crisis of the late 2000s.
But unemployment among black Americans has increased by 0.1 percent and by 0.5 percent among Asian Americans.
One reporter asked how the economic growth could have helped George Floyd, after the president said this was a “great day” for Floyd, who died in police custody last week.
Another reporter, Yamiche Alcindor of PBS NewsHour, asked Trump to comment on how unemployment actually rose among African Americans and Asian Americans. Trump responded by dismissively waving his hand and telling Alcindor, “You are something.”
Meanwhile mass protests continue across the country against police brutality while Democrats have called for a number of policy changes, including a national ban on chokeholds.
Trump also recently claimed that the protests “dishonoured” Floyd’s memory while he has threatened protesters with violence and his re-election campaign has used footage of memorials and other demonstrations for a video titled "Healing, Not Hatred". That video was removed by Twitter following a copyright-infringement claim.
The number of coronavirus related deaths in the US stands at more than 108,000 and nearly 2 million people have tested positive for the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.